Last year we awarded more than $209,000 in grants, scholarships, and fellowships.


The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College provides substantial need-based financial aid.  Unlike many programs, we do not give prizes or merit fellowships, since we believe such awards foster a damaging competition in the student community. Given the high standards set for admission into our MFA Program, we are equally eager for all admitted students to attend. 


ALL Warren Wilson MFA students who demonstrate need as determined by the FAFSA receive financial aid.



In order to satisfy degree requirements, students are required to complete four semesters and attend five residencies.  Tuition for each six-month semester is currently $9,100, with an additional residency fee of $564.  The residency fees cover your room (single-occupancy), board, and activities while on campus.

Additional variable expenses would include travel to and from Asheville twice a year, books (15-20+ each semester), and possibly postage (for the 5-6 packet exchanges with your supervisor each semester).

Please note that the Free Tuition Plan for qualifying NC residents initiated in 2018 at Warren Wilson College applies to undergraduate students only.



Because the graduate students are on campus only during two residency periods each year, it is impossible to offer the kind of teaching or research assistantships provided by some other schools, except for the Joan Beebe Teaching Fellowship available to alumni. The low-residency format, however, allows students to attend a writing program without moving or changing jobs, and to work–full-time, in many cases–while doing their graduate studies. Thus, in comparing the costs of graduate writing programs, one should recognize the absence of hidden costs such as moving or being required to live in a more costly area, and the advantage of maintaining income during the period.

The Director of Financial Aid at Warren Wilson will review the financial aid application and determine an amount of assistance as soon as all the forms are received and an applicant is ADMITTED into the MFA Program. Educational loans may be available to assist with the cost of living expense and travel; however, these expenses are the student’s responsibility. Students wishing to take outside courses in conjunction with independent studies may be able to obtain additional loan funds through their banks to help cover these costs.

Finally, it should be noted that financial aid funds are reserved for students enrolled in semester work and are made available through the MFA Program operating budget, the Mitchell Toney Scholarship Fund, and the Friends of Writers, Inc. The MFA Program maintains its commitment to enrolled students by appropriate increases in financial aid whenever fee increases are necessary and through emergency student loans.

The process of applying for financial aid begins with the FAFSA.  Students are encouraged to apply online at . The Federal School Code for Warren Wilson College is 002979, Asheville, NC. The FAFSA processor will send you the results by mail or email, and the results will be received electronically by Warren Wilson College. The FAFSA should be submitted to the federal processor no later than March 1 (for the July semester) or September 1 (for the January semester), preferably from a completed Federal Tax Return. FAFSA results processed by the WWC Financial Aid Office after April 15 or October 15 will not be considered for a need-based grant.

Application for financial aid does not affect admissions decisions.  However, financial statements and loan applications do take time to be processed, and if your enrollment depends on financial assistance, it is to your advantage to file in advance of our admissions deadlines. A FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for all of the following sources of aid:



–The Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers offers two opportunities for substantial aid to an incoming student. Students will be considered for the Holden Minority Scholarship and The Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellowship only at the time of admission. Recipients will be chosen by the MFA Admissions committee in consultation with the director.

Holden Minority Scholarship.* Inaugurated in 1995 by a generous donor, the Holden Scholarship was named for the late Dr. Reuben Holden, a revered President of Warren Wilson, who brought the MFA Program to the College and was its unfailing friend. The twelve Holden Scholarships to date have included African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic writers, including Fred Arroyo, R. Dwayne Betts, A. Van Jordan, and Vyvyane Loh. This endowed scholarship provides full tuition and residency fees for a minority student’s entire 4-semester degree program.  The student is responsible for travel, living, and additional expenses.  Admitted students will be considered as fellowship candidates only at the time of application to the Program. Holden Scholarship applicants should submit the usual application for financial aid, including a FAFSA, by March 1st for the July semester or September 1st for the January semester.  In addition, a statement specifying the candidate’s eligibility should be sent directly to the MFA Office along with the application for admission. The Program reserves the right to withhold the scholarship in any term in which none of the applicants have been first selected by the Admissions Committee. Download application here.

The Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing  The Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing:  Thanks to the generous support of The Rona Jaffe Foundation, one fellowship is available annually to an incoming female Warren Wilson MFA student in fiction or poetry.  The fellowship covers two consecutive semesters’ tuition and the fees for two residencies, plus a $4000 stipend to cover books, travel to residencies, child care, or loss of income while attending each residency. The student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. and must demonstrate need via the FAFSA. Admitted students will be considered as fellowship candidates only at the time of application to the Program; no additional application is required. This opportunity cannot be deferred or repeated. Recipients will not be eligible for MFA grants during their tenure in the Program.


–Additional financial aid opportunities are also available:

Levis Funds.*  Applicants who demonstrate unusual need may be offered supplements to the MFA Grants through funds offered in honor of our beloved colleague, Larry Levis.  No additional application is required.

MFA Grant.* An MFA Grant is awarded on the basis of the student’s ability to pay, as assessed by the FAFSA, and the cost of the program (tuition, on-campus room and board, living expenses, plus a small allowance for books and travel).

Lisel Mueller Scholarship.  This endowed fund provides an annual, non-renewable scholarship to enrolled students with small children.  No application is required.

The MFA General Scholarship.  This scholarship fund supports the MFA need-determined grants.

The Carol Houck Smith Scholarship.   The Carol Houck Smith Scholarship directly supports students completing their thesis manuscripts.

The Barnhardt Family Fund.  This fund covers room and board and other residency fees for our neediest students.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program . Student loans are the primary source of financial aid available to graduate students, and the best source of loans is the Federal Direct Loan Program. These loans are available through the Department of Education. Graduate students, if eligible, may borrow up to $20,500 in federal unsubsidized loans per academic year. Repayment begins six months after you cease to be enrolled or take a leave of absence. Students generally have up to ten years to repay their accumulated loans; however, there are minimum monthly repayments. Once your FAFSA has been processed and your eligibility determined, the Financial Aid Office at Warren Wilson will send you an award letter. If you wish to accept the student loans you have been offered, you will need to complete an MFA Federal Direct Loan Response form (found on the financial aid web page under forms) and complete the Master Promissory Note and the Entrance Loan Counseling (both may be found at You will use your FAFSA ID to sign in to the webpage. Your loan will be applied to your tuition bill when you have completed all the steps to accept it.

Renate Wood Scholarship*. Thanks to the generosity of the late Renate Wood and her husband Bill, their friends, and faculty and alumni who wanted to honor Renate’s years of excellent work as a poet and as a teacher of poetry, the Warren Wilson MFA Program awards a Renate Wood Scholarship to an entering student in poetry who demonstrates both extraordinary merit and extraordinary need. The scholarship is currently $200 each semester for four semesters. The Wood Scholarship is used to supplement an MFA Grant, and is renewable for an additional three semesters.

*Institutional financial aid awarded a student upon enrollment–including but not limited to MFA Grants, the Renate Wood Scholarship, the Holden Minority Scholarship, and the Levis Funds–will be provided for four semesters of study, assuming the student earns academic credit each semester, progresses toward completion of the degree, and continues to demonstrate financial need as demonstrated by an annual FAFSA.  For all students making satisfactory academic progress, Title IV aid is available for the first five semesters of enrollment .



“Financing Graduate Education: A guide for Prospective Students” brochure

2012-2013 MFA Withdrawal and Refund Policy

2012-2013 MFA Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

2012-2013 MFA Verification Policy



Financial Aid Office, CPO 6342
Warren Wilson College
PO Box 9000
Asheville, NC  28815
(828) 771-2082 (phone)
(828) 771-2030 (fax)